There has been a lot of talk about the three-year-old lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg brought by three of his former Harvard classmates. The trio claims Zuckerberg stole the idea, source code and business plan for their social networking site, called HarvardConnection, after he worked with them on the project in November 2003. We’re not going to handicap this dogfight just yet — but this tangle over who owns what raises an important question for founders and gives renewed relevance to the old debate over what matters more, invention or innovation? Continue Reading.
9 thoughts on “Facebook: Founder vs Founders”
I’ll comment here as I’m not going to register just to comment over there…sorry Om…
I think they are missing something, there would be no innovation without the idea. That said, the devil is in the implementation. And finally, if their accusations are true, Zuckerberg stole more than just the idea, he got code and a bunch more which takes it far beyond innovating.
This will be an interesting one to watch.
Bell Labs invented transistor, but Sony innovated with it. In such cases, conventionally the reward goes to innovators. If the “Founders” accusation is true, then did the “Founder” really innovated? We have to wait for the verdict from the courts. I will not characterize the dispute is between inventor and innovator.
well, i’d put the money on innovation – google innovates through acquisitions, just like microsoft, and they have in fact invented few of their most popular non-search ideas, primarily borrowing (creatively) from others in the interweb sphere…remember, – “creativity is all about knowing how to hide your sources” – something i’m sure zuckerberg repeats to himself daily, as all of the students from his class are well aware of ‘what went down that year’ (if you want the real story, you oughta track one of them down..)
Facebook should settle this already. Who needs this kind of crap when you are a 4 – 10 billion dollar company? Throw them 20 million and put the past behind you.
i agree with Matt .
Innovation clearly matters more than invention, IMHO. I have worked as a researcher (for a big telco) for many years and have also started a company based on a research idea. Producing new ideas, proof of concept inventions, and patent applications is fairly trivial. A competent person can generate numerous each year. Innovation, on the other hand, is really, really hard. Just a single innovation will take years and demand orders of magnitude more effort, cleverness, and luck(!) than just inventing something new. BTW: I think the concept of patents as protection for inventors is rather ridiculous when one considers how much harder and important innovation is. Patents obstruct innovation.
Invention is more than just a patented thought IMO. Invention can almost be thought of as the initial innovation, wheras continued innovation would be the proverbial ‘building a better mousetrap’.
With that in mind, invention is much more valuable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something completely ‘new’. For example, Google is largely credited for inventing modern search, though there were search engines before it. Invention (PageRank) and innovation (improving an existing idea) at the same time. Frankly I don’t think the two can be completely separated…
Implementation is another issue though. Give two people the same project and equal resources and one is bound to do better than the other. That’s not innovation or invention, that’s a different skill altogether….
…and that’s where Facebook killed ConnectU more than anything.
Don’t know if I completely agree with innovation being simply improving on an existing idea… you bring up Google and mention PageRank… but you don’t mention their HUGE innovation: how to generate tons of revenue from combining ads with search results :). I think innovation also must have some sort of profitability component, and often, this is the really hard part.
What is innovation? This is a nice but irrelevant term as far as intellectual property is concerned. Implementation is a better term to describe what the entrepreneur does with invention. Because Google has a cash pile do they have the right to capitalize on others invention simply because they were lucky on an IPO? The blues singer and the song publisher is not the only unequal game in town. Shall the U.S. adopt the European franchise system for invention. Or is our system at least best for establishing bragging rights if not monetary reward to the actual inventor.